My Facebook Horror Story
After using Facebook advertising and networking for years without a problem, I started getting some disturbing emails. They said that one of my ads had “violated FB policies” and that I needed to take action quickly.
But, when I saw that the return address looked bogus, I ignored the message. (After all, they say you shouldn’t click on an unknown link.)
But sometime later I got a notice from “Meta”, Facebook’s ad company, that looked real. It said that many of my ads were “in violation of their policies”. I couldn’t understand why, since they were the same FB ads I’ve been placing for several years without incident. My ads were always the photo of a Gold Member and their brief bio.
Then I got a notice that my FB account was suspended. But the same notice said that, if I disputed it, I could fill out a form (which I did) to have Facebook review it. Despite filling out the form, though, I never heard back.
It Gets Worse
In reviewing my PayPal account while on vacation the next week, I saw a large, unauthorized payment made to Meta. And even while I was looking at my account, another large payment came up to be processed. It was then that I realized my FB account had been hacked.
Since I didn’t have enough in my PayPal account to cover the full bill, the balance owed was taken out of my business bank account. Fortunately, the bank was able to immediately refuse payment, and I got the bulk of my money back. Unfortunately, PayPal did not refund my money from the bogus payments.
When I notified PayPal and filled out their form for resolution of those payments, they said I had to contact the seller, Meta. But, because Meta is part of Facebook, my access to Meta had been “suspended” along with my FB account—a weird loop of no return.
PayPal had told me that, if they didn’t hear from Meta in 10 days, they would process the refund themselves. But, instead of a refund, they just ended the resolution application—so no money back.
FB never did contact me about their promise to review my case. Instead, they sent me a notice that my account was now disabled.
A lot of work had gone into making my FB account one of my main marketing tools. I had even used one strategy that got me over 11K likes/followers on my business page.
So, since FB was thus proven easy to hack, and getting a new account would still run the risk of unauthorized payments without reparations, I decided to look for alternatives.
Noticing that several business coaches I follow don’t even use social media to market their business, I thought, “Why couldn’t I at least eliminate FB and focus on other platforms?” No reason at all.
What I hope you can learn from my experience
- Don’t put all your eggs in one basket: fortunately, over the years, I have nurtured my LinkedIn account and posted on it alongside Facebook, so I still have that platform to market to.
- Don’t use social media as your only way of getting leads and clients. To me, the whole purpose of being on social media is to have conversations (engaging), and/or to move interested parties to your list, where you can build relationships with more control. I have always advocated building a list, because email marketing is the most effective way to nurture leads and turn them into clients.
- Don’t think you’ll never get hacked: I’ve heard of many other cases, and people who were angry at Facebook for even more minor offenses.
- Keep a low balance in your PayPal account: you can’t necessarily trust them to do the right thing. In fact they can be just as unpredictable (and “faceless”) as Facebook!
- Don’t take it personally: the Universe is on your side. There will always be setbacks when you are running a business, so don’t let that get you down, or stop you from moving on.
Both reading articles and hearing the stories of others has confirmed to me that many have had experiences similar to mine. So, if you’re using Facebook for your marketing, make sure you are also cultivating other sources. Companies that don’t provide good customer service have a tendency to not be around long.
So, I am moving on from Facebook. I may even open an Instagram account. Or get more active with my Pinterest account. And I will be doing more on LinkedIn.
But I will also be actively seeking subscribers and customers from other sources besides social media, such as:
- participating in bundles,
- using affiliates to market my products,
- content and email marketing,
- guest blog posts,
- guest podcasts,
- and more.
Since there are so many ways to market your business, you should not only have different streams of income, but you should also have a nice selection of different marketing sources to round out your marketing.
Need some help or support with that? Check out my “Content Cash Planner”-–a workbook that walks you through 9 different areas where you can develop an income stream with your own valuable content. Find out more here: https://iaplifecoaches.org/content-cash-planner/